In shock, Facebook blocks access to news in Australia

In a shocking act of retaliation on Thursday, Facebook stuck Australians from news sharing, a milestone in the increasingly frenetic game between governments, media and powerful tech companies that an Australian minister called “an assault on a sovereign nation” and abuse of power. The Australian government condemned the decision, which also blocked some government communications, including messages on emergency services, as well as some commercial pages. Digital platforms fear that what is happening in Australia will set a costly precedent for larger countries to follow. Facebook it took drastic action because the House of Representatives passed the legislation it would do Facebook and Google pays for Australian journalism, said treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who added he hadn’t been notified sooner. Facebook acted. Legislation must be passed by the Senate before it becomes law.

“Facebook’s actions” were unnecessary, they were heavy and will damage their reputation here in Australia, “Frydenberg said.

Facebook he said the Australian bill “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and the publishers who use it.” “This is an assault on a sovereign nation,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told Parliament. “It is an attack on people’s freedom and, in particular, it is a total abuse of market power and control over the technology of great technologies.” Both Google and Facebook they threatened retaliation if Australia created the law, which the government claims will ensure that media companies receive fair payment for their journalism linked to those platforms.

Australia’s proposal calls for a negotiating safety net through an arbitration panel. The digital giants would not be able to abuse their dominant bargaining positions by making pay offers to take or leave to news organizations for their journalism. If a news company refused to move, the jury would make a binding decision on a winning bid.

Facebook he threatened to block access to Australian news rather than pay for it under the proposed Media Bargaining Code. Google had threatened to remove its search functions from Australia because it said the bill was impractical.

But Google’s threat has vanished as it quickly mends content licensing deals with Australian media companies under its own News Showcase model.

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. announced a wide-ranging deal with Google on Wednesday. Leading Australian media organization Seven West Media reached an agreement earlier in the week. Their rival Nine Entertainment is reportedly close to their deal and the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corp. is in talks. The government accused Facebook to endanger public safety by temporarily blocking messages from state emergency services on a day when severe fire and flood warnings occurred in various parts of Australia.

Weather alerts from the Bureau of Meteorology, a Hobart women’s shelter and the Betoota Advocate, a satirical website named after an Australian ghost town, were among those who were surprised to find their content blocked at least temporarily.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said he said so Facebook that the government expected to restore access to its pages.

“The fact that there are organizations like state health departments, firefighters and emergency services … that have had their Facebook blocked pages, this is a public safety concern, ”Fletcher said.

Facebook he said in a statement: “Any pages that have been inadvertently affected, we will try to reverse.” Health Minister Greg Hunt said Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital still hasn’t fixed its feed more than eight hours later.

Frydenberg said he had “constructive” discussions with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg after the content blocking began.

“He explained that they had problems with aspects of the code and goes to the interpretation of some of its elements. And he’ll come back to me with some more thoughtful opinions, ”Frydenberg said.

Frydenberg said his government remained loyal to the code that it was offering generous payment deals with Google for the Australian media.

“Other countries are watching, but also Google and Facebook and other digital giants are very focused on what a precedent means for other countries, ”Frydenberg said.

(This story was not edited by our team of editors and is generated from a feed.)

News Highlights:

  • It is an attack on people’s freedom and, in particular, it is a total abuse of the market power of great technologies and control over technology. Both Google and Facebook they threatened retaliation if Australia created the law, which the government claims will ensure media companies receive fair payment for their journalism linked to those platforms.
  • In shock, Facebook blocks access to news in Australia